Back by popular demand, Paul Hartman and Andy Germani return to bring you their prospect rankings for the 2018 season. In addition to the rankings, we pose a number of questions to each of our “experts” to give you an idea on who they are targeting and avoiding. While these rankings are primarily for those of you in keeper and dynasty leagues, some of the players could make a potential impact in 2018.
Note that players marked N/R were not ranked by that particular person. Players are also ranked using their primary position, so those that played multiple positions will not be duplicated elsewhere in our rankings.
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr||Padres||19||2019||2||2|
|4||Bo Bichette||Blue Jays||20||2020||3||3|
|20||Danny Diaz||Red Sox||17||2022||17||24|
|24||Richard Urena||Blue Jays||22||2019||29||19|
|T32||Anderson Alexander Tejeda||Rangers||19||2020||28||N/R|
|T32||Logan Warmoth||Blue Jays||22||2020||N/R||28|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: I think Gabriel Arias is about to jump onto the scene. He played in full season ball last year as a 17-year-old, and even if it was just 16 games, it’s still impressive. The power could easily come, and I think his bat will produce more than enough to play short. This might be one of those last chance moments on a prospect.
Paul: This is a tough question simply because of the sheer volume of players I am looking to break out this year. I like Wander Javier and Wander Franco, as well as Gabriel Arias, Yasel Antuna, and Isaac Paredes. If I had to choose just one guy though, it would be Freudis Nova of the Houston Astros. Nova has got power and speed, and he may even hit for average, all while sticking on the left side of the infield. He’s just 18 years old, so the breakout may not come until 2019, but I’m all-in on perhaps the best hitter of the 2016 international crop.
What prospect (if any) could make a surprising contribution to fantasy teams in 2018?
Andy: There are only a couple of options to really have an impact this season. I am a known Gleyber Torres hater, but Paul took the guy I was going to pick, Crawford, whom I am also not super high on. Torres should spend a large part of the season in the majors, but I think someone is going to pay up for him, and it definitely won’t be me. He has a nice hit tool, but I still am not a believer in the power.
Paul: I prefer Gleyber Torres (by a mile) and Willy Adames, but I am going with J.P. Crawford of the Philadelphia Phillies. While everyone is clamoring for his future double-play partner, I suspect Crawford is ready to get everyday big league at-bats in 2018. He struggled in his debut last year, hitting just .214/.356/.300, but he still managed to walk at an 18% clip. In AAA, he had an excellent 14% BB rate while just striking out 17% of the time. He’s a whiz defensively, has a little speed, and could grow into 15 home run power. I like him and don’t think there’s another shortstop on this list who gets as many opportunities next season.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: Danny Diaz was a 2017 international signee, so there isn’t much to really get excited about other than what scouts can tell us. I get excited when people say a 17-year-old shortstop has power already and the ability to be a middle of the order bat. He probably doesn’t end up staying at short if he really does keep the power going and become a middle of the order bat, but that is fine with me.
Paul: There are a lot of great shortstops from the 2017 international class, but my favorite deep sleeper in Ronny Rojas of the Yankees. He’s just 16 years old, so there’s no need to look at him unless your league rosters over 300-350 prospects. He has some solid tools already, but it’s his ability to make hard contact from both sides of the plate that stands out for me. He’s got a little speed and should grow into solid power. It’s all projection here, but that’s the kind of guy we like to highlight here.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings fantasy owners may want to trade/avoid?
Andy: My two answers will be off the list by default, exceeding rookie limits, but I really don’t want to make what I feel like is an overpay for J.P. Crawford or Gleyber Torres. Power numbers tend to spike when players jump from the minors to majors, but still, neither of these guys have power that excites me. I don’t think either is really a difference maker in the steals department either. I would be doing everything in my power to sell. It should be a really easy sell to 99 percent of fantasy owners too.
Paul: I am so enamored by all of these guys that I have a hard time projecting doom for any of them. To be fair, the majority of this group is extremely young, and we could see any number of them fail. But most are young enough that a bad season won’t discourage me an awful lot.